sea grapes vignette 1

“The Colony is dressed (or, painted) to impress—an iconic destination that welcomes the well-heeled from Worth Avenue with a glass (or two) of rosé.”

sea grapes vignette 2

“The Colony is dressed (or, painted) to impress—an iconic destination that welcomes the well-heeled from Worth Avenue with a glass (or two) of rosé.”



Johnnie Brown is one of Palm Beach’s celebrities – and The Colony’s mascot. Affectionately known as JB, he was the beloved pet monkey and constant companion of Addison Mizner, the famous architect who designed the Everglades Club and much of Palm Beach.

Did you know that JB once ran for the mayor of Palm Beach and lost by only 4 votes? In the 1920’s, this spider monkey could be spotted in the heart of town on Addison’s shoulder. Today, he lives on in every corner of the Pink Paradise – tending to our guests’ every need – paying tribute to our whimsical and nostalgic nature.

johnny the actual monkey
vintage postcard image of colony hotel


The Colony is still as chic and lavish as it was in 1947, when it first debuted in Palm Beach’s post-war construction boom. 

This glimmering destination has received praise for its fashionable dining and live music—as well as its signature je ne sais quoi. It’s the reason that discerning guests (who has included Judy Garland, Lena Horne, John Lennon, Sophia Loren, and Frank Sinatra) have continued to check in for decades.

The Colony commands the western end of Hammon Avenue, which was named for Hiram F. Hammon. Hammon (who, in 1875, settled on 169.2 acres of the island, thanks to the 1862 Homestead Act) is famous for being Palm Beach’s first pioneer. Hammon and William Lanehart are credited with this historic town’s name.

In 1878, the Providencia was bound for Spain from Trinidad when it idled on the island’s shores. Lanehart chronicled: “I was greeted by the mate of the vessel, with a bottle of wine and a box of cigars, as a sort of olive branch. There were 20,000 coconuts, and they seemed like a godsend to the people. For several weeks, everyone was eating coconuts and drinking wine.” Some of the coconuts became the palms that would come to inspire the name “Palm Beach.”

In 1921, Hammon sold some of his land to William Waller, Jr., The Chicago-based broker constructed Casa Manana, the Spanish-style estate that has come to house The Colony’s villas. In the 1940s, he and his business partners recruited the firm Simonson and Holley to build a Colonial-style gem across the street. This would become The Colony.

historic photo of Hirram Hannon
historic photo of hotel entrance

The Colony (then, “The Golf View”) debuted on November 15, 1947. On November 22, 1947, there was a black-tie celebration, where the glamorous crowd flowed between rooms, which included the Birdcage Bar. It was a smash, which ensured that the rooms were booked for the entire season.

In the 1950s, S. Joseph Tankoos, Jr., the financier behind New York’s Delmonico Hotel, was drawn to The Colony. He purchased the lease in 1959, bringing his sense of sparkle to Palm Beach.

historic photo of two couples enjoying cocktails

It was shared, in The Miami Herald: “Impressions of the gracious old hotel have remained with him. He says he hoped to recapture that graciousness along with the gaiety and the pushbutton service provided by such hotels as the Claridge in London or the Plaza Athénée in Paris.”

the kennedy family

In the 1960s, President John F. Kennedy established a second residence on the island. This excitement—coupled with Tankoos’ expert direction—ensured The Colony’s success. 

The Palm Beach Daily News described in 1969:

“The Colony Hotel imparts a feeling of elegance and importance to its hotel guests which is, perhaps, the basis for its air of distinction and popularity among the discriminating. For years the Colony has been the winter resort home for many in the International Jet Set, that elegant group of American and international ocean-hopping social figures.

The Colony’s guest roster includes royalty, international tycoons, political figures and prominent persons and reads like a ‘Who’s Who in the World.’ Operated in a private club atmosphere, the Colony also has appeal for Palm Beach residents as a desirable place to hold dinner parties. The Maharanee of Jodhpur, the Shah of Persia, the late President John F. Kennedy, the President of Nicaragua, three kings and numerous other dignitaries have been hosted at the Colony and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor were known to spend a month during the season in the Colony’s Vice-Regal penthouse.

Tankoos steered the icon to greatness through 1970, when he sold the lease to David H. McConnell and Robert C. Wetenhall, who were partners in an investment firm in New York and part owners of the New England Patriots. Soon, the co-owners embarked on a renovation that included the facilities and rooms. McConnell and Wetenhall were committed to the local communities, promising to hire contractors from the region.

In 1986, McConnell transferred his share to his cousin, Hays Clark, who increased the size of it in 1990 (Wetenhall remained involved). In 2001, Roger Everingham (General Manager) and Rob Russell (Entertainment Director) installed a supper club featuring cabaret performances in The Colony’s Royal Room. The program booked its share of stars, causing a sensation on the scene in Palm Beach.

With Clark’s passing in 2006, Rosamond Clark (his widow) and his children assumed ownership. The Clarks ran The Colony with care and, in 2014, recruited interior decorator Carleton Varney (of Dorothy Draper and Company) to execute a $9 million refurbishment. Varney decorated each room with its own distinctive theme, splashing the place with bold hues and lushness. It was he who introduced the famous “Brazilliance” pattern in the halls—and it was he who painted the exterior pink.

older couple standing arm in arm at hotel entrance

In 2016, the Clarks sold The Colony to its current owners, Andrew and Sarah Wetenhall. Andrew (Robert C. Wetenhall’s son) is a New York–based investment banker who remembers his childhood in the halls of the beloved Pink Paradise. As he intimated at his opening reception: “This is like a little slice of heaven. All we want it to be is the great thing it already is.

photo of the wettenhall family on the beach

In 2017, The Colony celebrated its 70th anniversary. In celebration of this important milestone, The Wetenhalls announced the beginning of a multi-year restoration of the grande dame of Palm Beach, in partnership with Mimi McMakin and Celerie Kemble of Kemble Interiors.

sarah wettenhall and aerin lauder posing in open patio door

The Colony Palm Beach was designated a landmark in 2020.

From 2018 to 2022, it collaborated with the darlings of interior design—Celerie Kemble, Aerin Lauder, and Mark D. Sikes—to create signature villas. Kemble reimagined Villa Bougainvillea and Villa Poinciana while Lauder and Sikes enhanced Villa Jasmine and Villa Aralia, respectively.  The Pink Paradise continues to partner with esteemed designers to reimagine each of its residences. 

For partnerships that are dressed to impress—even in stylish Palm Beach—The Colony has lured fashion designers (including, Dolce and Gabbana, Ferragamo, Marni, Michael Kors, and Oscar de la Renta) to its shores for events and more. Esteemed and exclusive fitness and wellness brands like Tracy Anderson have also launched programs with The Colony.  

In 2022, The Colony kicked off its 75th anniversary season with a redesign of the guest rooms and public spaces, reinforcing The Colony’s enduring bravura while introducing current, luxurious touches. The Colony Edit is launching in 2023, making signature items available for purchase.

As it has since 1947, The Colony embraces a multigenerational clientele with energy and style, ensuring that each guest feels young at heart. Palm Beach’s Pink Paradise is, at the fabulous age of 76, more brilliant and happening than it has ever been; it’s the social hub of this sunny island. This is thanks to the Wetenhalls’ care (and flair) in restoring the icon to its Camelot-era glory for the Judy Garlands and Frank Sinatras of the 2020s. Blending its enduring charisma with some fresh fun, it prepares to celebrate its centennial with a bang—and a resounding pop of rosé/pink champagne.

watercolor painting of hotel hallway
Johnnie the monkey